MMA is the worlds fastest growing sport hands down; promotions are popping up everywhere (including our own very BTC fight promotions). Its quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in the world (we’re coming for you soccer!) and with that more and more people are starting to become fans of MMA. But with all these promotions and all these fighters the question does come up, are these people watching fans of the sport, the fighters or are they fans of the personalities?
There is a lot of people who just watch the really big events, that’s why those events do such big numbers. For example, the as of writing this up and coming BMF title match between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz is going to do better than most events, because both those fighters are superstars and people who aren’t even really fans of MMA are aware of these two in some way.
But right now, I want to mainly focus on the people who at least somewhat follow the sport and see if they are fans of the sport itself, or they are fans of the personalities in the sport. Now let’s be honest and acknowledge the fact that, just like everything else every, there are different types of fans watching for different reasons, you got the casual fans who tune in only for bigger shows like the numbered UFC events, you got the die-hards who watch everything, the “Just bleed” guys who watch and are disappointed if the fight doesn’t have as much blood as Lawler vs McDonald.
But I feel for the question we’re trying to answer right now, like with pretty much everything, the answer is somewhere in the middle. There’s a reason that fight cards are headed by either champions or big names, but still I think that, unlike boxing, most people watch at least the full main card and not just the main event, showing that there’s more of a genuine interest in the sport, instead of just watching the top stars win or lose. I find that most MMA fans really do find the sport interesting as a whole, but there’s also the obvious people who are only watching for a certain fighter and their personality, which is why I feel like the women’s matches still don’t get as much hype as the men’s, as there aren’t as many big personalities in the women’s side of MMA.
But overall as the sport of MMA grows we will also have the standout fighters who receive more attention as others, but that can bring in more fans of the sport who will, in turn, start to follow it, instead of one fighter.